I think I can, I think I can.

I have the contacts. I have (most) of the knowledge. I even have an outlet. Why can’t I write?

After meeting with my editor, Geoff Kelly, at Artvoice last Thursday, I left the office elated. I had my very first journalistic assignment. It was perfect! I was to write a 1,000 word feature on the upcoming Local Restaurant Week event in Western New York. I was even given unlimited access to the staff photographer. I had four days until dealine.

Food, restaurants and feature writing are the things I dream about. Like sugar plums dancing in my head, I spent the weekend picturing the the perfect heirloom tomato salad photograph that would grace my first printed article in a major publication. I worked on the headline while I was driving. I called several area chefs I knew to inquire as to their menu offerings. I interviewed the president of the New York State Restaurant Association. I scoured the Internet for information. I did all this by Friday. Boy, was I good!

And then it was Saturday.

My desk was covered in menus, notes and interviews. My laptop was on but my mind was not. All the headlines that I had considered seemed like a joke. I skipped the headline and moved onto the lead. Nothing. The nutgraph was elusive as well. Despite my research and excitment, I produced nothing.

Surly Sunday would be more productive.

I was reading old recipe books and watching food shows to find my muse. I was feeling sick to my stomach as Sunday night approached and I had still not managed to type a single word. Monday was the deadline. I could barely sleep. What if I couldn’t write? What if the idea was grand but the actual work was too much? My God, I have spent almost two years chasing a dream that may remain beyond my reach.

I think I can.

This morning I sat down and typed. ¬†Nothing was in order and some of it didn’t even look like English, but I was determined to write something. I started with the conclusion. I wrote a nutgraph that was way too long and still had a crappy headline. I got up to do the dishes. I came back and added more. I threw in some laundry and came back for more. It was starting to take shape. Then the headline came to me. Viola! I couldn’t stop typing. When I took a breath again I had well over 1,000 perfectly crafted words. They were beautiful and they were mine! They are now in the hands of my most merciful (I hope) editor and with any luck they will be in the hands of thousands of Western New Yorkers on Thursday.

I hope each article doesn’t produce such drama, but if I get to feel this way every time I send off one of my pieces, it would be worth it.

I always knew I could!


5 responses to “I think I can, I think I can.

  1. Jennifer,

    Content: 4 Great subject for the class. Nicely told (although we are going to work on sharpening your writing, eliminating cliches, varying your sentence structure for more power). These are the agonies writers face almost every time deadline approaches. Keep at it. It does get easier. But not always.
    Links: 4 These links were a little dull. Seeing the restaurants you worked at doesn’t help explain what you did there or what you learned. Maybe if you wrote something about that experience it might be better. I would like to see links to foodbloggers you admire, recipes you like, useful stuff like that. Still, you fulfilled the requirements.
    Grammar: 3 Work to say what you want to say in half the words. Cut out every word that doesn’t matter. Think lean and tight. Also, watch cliches.

  2. Oops. Jennifer. I meant Content: 4 Links: 2 Grammar: 3 for a total of nine. Not sure what happened there. Sorry

    • Jody,

      I am confused. Are you commenting on my 3rd blog from a few days ago called “conflict”? The blog “I thin I can, I think I can” was about the trials of putting out my first article. It has nothing to do with restaurants that I have worked in. I didn’t even mention working in restaurants. The point of the blog was to vent about the difficulties of pulling an article together by the deadline. Also, I thought the link was right on par. It took students directly to the Local Restaurant Week site which listed participating vendors. It was a link that I don’t think they would have found. Please comment. I take this class very seriously and I want to improve I just don’t understand your comments on this blog. Thanks for you time! Jennifer

      On Sun 09/27/09 2:40 PM , “comment-reply@wordpress.com”

  3. Jody,
    I am confused. Are you perhaps referring to my other post “conflict”? The post you commented on has nothing to do with restaurants where I worked at all (nor should it). The blog spoke of my writer’s block and what it takes to get a story out. It has nothing to do with where I have worked in the past.The link took readers directly to the Local Restaurant Site to view participating locations. I guess that I just don’t understand your desire for links to establishments that I have worked. As I want to improve, please explain where I went wrong? Thanks!

  4. Hi Jennifer,
    Sorry. Yes. I had a little mind morph while reading your blog. Indeed, I melded the two blogs together — the links anyway.
    But my criticism holds. The Restaurant Week link not helpful as it stands. First of all, I have to click several more times to get into the Buffalo section. Second, you should talk about some aspect of the week and then click to the specific site that fits what you are saying. Then if I want to troll around the site, I can. the idea of links is to make me think you are incredibly interesting and can take me places on sites I might not find alone. Get it?
    Glad that you take the class seriously. Keep it up.

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